[Advaita-l] How can one claim to know Brahman?

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Wed Mar 9 13:19:15 CST 2005

On Wed, 9 Mar 2005, Mahesh Ursekar wrote:

> Esteemed readers,
> The seers say that when one realizes Bramhman, the knower, the knowing
> and know become one. In that is indeed true, then when one returns to
> the normal state,
> how can one claim that Brahman was experienced as
> Sat-chit-ananda? That claim can only be made if the knower was
> different from the known during the experience.

If one "returns to the normal state" than one has not realized Brahman at
all.  For Brahman is not a state but the very ground of truth,
consciousness, and bliss.  Samadhi is a state and oneness can be felt
during that state (because the vrttis of the mind that cause the
experience of duality are stilled) but it not an eternal state.  (The mind
becomes disorganized again.)  So in Advaita Vedanta, samadhi is considered
a lower goal than jnana.  Unfortunately, many modern interpreters are
heedless about this distinction and cause confusion in the minds of

> One philosopher I conversed with said that the situation is similar to
> the deep sleep state wherein one is aware of it even after the
> experience as in the claim - "I had a deep sleep last night". However,
> my objection to that is that nobody can describe the state of deep
> sleep or how one felt while in that state - one can only claim to
> being in that state after feeling refreshed the next day. However, in
> the case of realization, one can describe, however inaccurately, the
> experience one had during that state.

Yes because we do have some idea of what consciousness is, what truth is,
and what ananda is.  What we don't have in samsara is _pure_ experience of
these things.  To get this is the goal of Advaita Vedanta.  Without the
pure experience of Brahman even these things appear to be tainted by
defects like falsehood, turmoil, and sorrow.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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